It Happened to #MeToo

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In the wake of recent news and the MeToo movement, I want to share my story with you. Not so that you tell me that I’m brave, or for your condolences, or to make a man into a monster, but to simply say, it’s not always who you think it is, and nice guys make bad decisions sometimes.

In the summer of 2012, I was back to work after having my third little guy. As many working moms of newborns do, I was nursing my baby which required me to pump at work. My employer at the time had a room (that locked) that I was able to use to pump twice a day.

The room could be used for other things, too; there was a shower in there (I don’t think anyone ever used it), and there was a scale in there where people would be weighed during our company-wide fitness challenges. But for the most part, it was a life-less room where nursing mothers could pump in peace.

One day in July I unlocked the room, set up my equipment and completed my 20-minute pump sesh. During my time in there, I’d often play games on my phone or read a magazine. After I finished I noticed the keys and cellphone of a coworker on the paper towel dispenser that faced the chair seated in the corner of the room. I stood at the counter while I pumped, rather than sitting down, since the outlet didn’t reach to the chair.

I don’t remember how I knew whose keys these were, but I did, so I graciously walked out to the warehouse and returned them to him. He thanked me and said he must have left them in there when he was weighing in.

No big deal.

Fast forward a few days and this guy, a friend at work, someone who I had had many conversations with, whom was a great guy that everyone loved and trusted sent me an email and asked for a picture of my kids, he was going to print me a picture of them on a new substrate to test out one of our new printing machines – so thoughtful! I obliged and sent the photo.

The next time I opened the door to pump in the afternoon I noticed the picture of my kids on the counter, right in front of where I stood to pump. So nice of him to leave it for me in here, and gee, my kids are cute! I went about my business, pumped and while I went to put my stuff away, I glanced to the counter on my right and noticed a cellphone propped against the counter facing directly where I was standing.

Please don’t let the camera be on, I thought immediately.

I picked up the phone and the screen was black except for a tiny red light near the bottom. I froze. I knew whose phone this was immediately and I had no idea what do to. I was shaking as I finished packing up my things and I walked out of that room and straight to HR with the phone in my hand.

I told our HR person what had happened and gave her the phone. She promised me she would talk to the guy and ask him to show her his videos to ensure nothing had really happened.

I went to my boss after that and told him what happened.

Here is the summary of what happened next:

  • They talked to the guy, he showed them his videos and nothing was on there (obviously, he’s not an idiot)
  • The guy denied all of it
  • The guy cried
  • The guy said he would allow anyone to take his phone and look at it, ANYONE – he was not guilty of this
  • The guy said he’d never do this to his family, to his wife
  • They gave him his phone back and told him to bring it back the next day to be handed over to specialist who could review everything on the phone
  • He agreed to bring the phone back the next day

My boss met with me after speaking with him and said, “I don’t know. I think I believe him. I looked in his eyes and I don’t think he’s lying. I think this is a big misunderstanding.”

I knew it wasn’t. In my belly, I knew it wasn’t. I went home and I was scared. What if this guy knows he’s going down and he wants to take me down with him? What if he comes to my house and hurts my family? What if he’s a total psychopath?

The next day was my regular day off. My employer promised to contact me after they had the results back from the phone specialist.

I didn’t get a call until 4:00pm. And this was what they told me, “He came into work this morning and said his phone had been stolen. That’s when we called the police. You will be contacted by the detective on this case.” They said more than that, and they were very sorry, and I felt taken care of, but man, I was scared and I felt betrayed that no one had believed me at first.

It turns out this was not his first offense of sexual misconduct. And in the days and weeks ahead I had to go about my business and chose not to talk about it with everyone at work. People were talking, the police had come and seized his computer, among other things. He had been put on leave, and no one knew for sure why. I did. I was the victim of his actions.

They never found the phone, but it doesn’t matter. Using a computer to commit a crime is the crime, not whether you actually capture video or not.

The county pressed charges and since this was his third offense, he went to prison for 18 months. He was a good guy. With a wife and two kids and a job that he excelled at and lots and lots of friends. He went to church, he helped people, HE WAS A GOOD MAN. And he also attempted (twice, I believe) to video tape my breasts as I pumped in a secure room at my workplace.

I haven’t told many people – only my family and close friends. Because I don’t want a bunch of attention about it, and it’s weird, and it’s private. Those are the reasons we (victims) don’t talk about it. We want to just move on. Until it’s too much and we have to speak up to say “This happens. This happens more than it should. And people should know and be held accountable.”

I am not afraid of every man. And I don’t think every man has ill intentions. I think there are lots of people in this world (men and women) who have urges they can’t control. I think there are people who are sick, and need help. And I think there are people who simply make bad choices. Should we be held accountable for our actions? Absolutely. Should we apologize and seek redemption? YES! Should we be offered grace and mercy when we do so? For sure.

I wish no ill-will to the man who did this to me. I hope he gets better. I am sad that I, too, can say “it happened to me,” but I am hopeful for a movement of change.

Peace and grace. xoxo.

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Tell Me About Your Child

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tell me about your childDo I have to? How do I sum up into 2 lines the details that surround this small child’s world that he lives inside of every day? How do I tell you that his heart is bigger than any child’s I have ever met, but his attitude can be pretty grandiose, as well? How do I tell you that he’s difficult? He’s difficult to understand — to put into a box. There’s nothing that “works” for him consistently. No nuggets of wisdom to share, only piles of trials and lots of errors.

And yet he looks normal on the outside. He’s adorable and friendly. He’s smart. He’s got lots of friends and they get along well. But he can’t always sit still, and he struggles keeping his hands to himself; it’s typical seven-year-old behavior, they say. But is it? Is it normal to tantrum and cry when things don’t go your way when you’re seven? Is it normal to pout and throw things when you don’t get your way when you’re seven? Is it normal to push button after button of the ones you love? For what? A reaction? An explosion? Why?

What is normal?

All I know is that this complex little boy of mine is different. He’s unhappy a lot of the time and it’s sad. It’s hard to watch, it’s hard to explain, and dang it, it’s hard to write it down on this stupid piece of paper. Tell me about your child… I can’t. I can’t even explain my child and his behavior to his therapist or doctors or my my very own mother. He’s a lover and a fighter. He’s day and night. He’s all of it. And his poor little mind has got to be a tired mess. Is that what I should say?

Do you see my tears on this paper?

Soon you will know him. You will come to know him well. And we will talk. Through emails about his bad choices, in meetings with teachers, and therapists, and the principal. We will pray for him. We will cry for him. We will do our best to help him and help ourselves. Because we are in this together. And we see that he is made in His image, and that he will bring great joy to this world with that enormous heart of his. We will love him. We will love him when it’s hard. We will love him when it’s easy. We will love him. Please, tell me you will love him.

At the end of the day

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At the end of the day

I feel spent. 

I feel disheartened

that I got so upset. 

That I let the little things 

get to me

and I yelled. 

I murmured unkind words

under my breath. 

I thought things 

I hate to admit.  

I wanted to get in my car

and drive away. Fast. 

At the end of the day 

I reflect. 

I want so badly 

to be better. 

I want to live 

the way I know I should. 

To break through all the noise 

To just love on those boys 

To feel a heart full of joy

At the end of the day.

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It Isn’t Easy Being Meanie

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Most days my kids make me crazy. They fight, they call each other names, they hit, they cry, they whine. 

My blood boils and I yell. I take away iPad privileges and enforce early bedtimes. I am a serious meanie. 

But just before bedtime tonight Alex said to me, “Mom, even though you were kinda mean today, you’re still the best mom in the world.” 

Good to know I haven’t lost my crown yet! 🙂

   

Andrewisms

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kids say the darnest things… Here is a list of funny things Andrew says (I’m putting them here mainly so I don’t forget)! 

Every time Joshua cries, “mom!!! He’s crying! He needs to feed!!!!”

Statue = Shadow 

Stool = Nightstand 

Lunch (pronounced “yunch”) = Every meal of the day 

Cross = Mad (thanks to Thomas the Train)

You’re not my best friend = anytime someone makes him mad 

A Bloody = An Owie

The grey cupboard = the fridge 

Does the newspaper fall out of the clouds on church day? = weekly paper delivery on Sunday 

  

Thoughts on a Mother’s Heart

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Where does the time go

I sit and watch you dream 

Each precious breath so sweet 

I wonder where your path will lead

What will be your heartache

And what will be your best

Who will hold your hand

As you step out in faithfulness

When you find your voice

How will you make your mark

What will be your favorite song

What will fill your heart

Will you be an athlete

An artist or an advocate

Will you study law

Science or arithmetic 

Will you hold my hand 

When you’re just a budding teen

Will you call me late at night 

To help you flee the scene

Just be forever momma’s boy

So sweet and kind and free 

I pray you find nothing but joy

Like you have brought to me 

 

The F-Bomb

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This was the conversation I had with my 8-year-old this morning. 

Joseph: Mom, I really wish I could tell my friends about the f-bomb, but I can’t. 

Me: (blood pressure rising, brain scanning for the best way to handle this conversation, as well as looking for someone to blame for this age-inappropriate knowledge). No, you can’t. What is the f-bomb? Please don’t let it be the real deal…

Joseph: (ever so quietly whispers) Fricking. 

Me: Yup. (Phew!!) Where did you hear that?

Joseph: You know cell phone Mike? The one that yells all the time? Well, the other day I heard him yelling at his dogs and he said it THREE TIMES!! 

Me: (still scanning for the right way to handle this.) That’s not good at all. We don’t say those words and I never want to hear that you’ve said them here, or with your friends. 

Just then, on the TV (I was watching Jimmy Fallon from a few nights ago – no judgement, please. It was on before he came in the room) Russell Crowe throws out the word “hell” in conversation.  

Joseph: See! He just said one. 

Me: (shit! fumbling for the remote). Yes, he did.

Channel changed to PBS – Arthur is on. Lo and behold the episode is about swearing and why we don’t do it! Thank you, kind Lord, for that. I owe you one. Or 100. 

By the way, what in the world are Arthur and DW anyway?? And if you haven’t seen the episode, you may want to look it up and save it for a rainy day. 

  

5 Things Having a Newborn Has Taught Me 

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We just welcomed home Joshua Phillip, our fourth baby boy. By the fourth time around, this whole birthing process should be old hat, right? Well, yes. Kind of. But this time I was utterly amazed and overwhelmed by a few things; I don’t know if these feelings were necessarily new, but I want to share them with you, since I feel like in the whirlwind that is having a new baby, they may get lost. And maybe if I write about them, I won’t forget them this time.   

 

  1. Our bodies are an incredibly amazing miracle. The fact that we can grow a perfect, healthy, fully functioning human being, push it out of a tiny hole, and stand up to go to the bathroom an hour later is UNBELIEVABLE. The fact that less than a week ago, I gave birth to a child, and today I can make dinner, drive a car, go to a concert at school, it’s crazy. Think about it. 
  2. Night 2 and Day 3 suck. Or should I say your baby sucks – a lot – in this 36 hr span. No one really tells you about “cluster feeding,” and that it’s to be expected during these times, and that it will go away once your milk comes in. Or that it helps your milk come in. Get ready to have a baby attached to your boob for those 36 hours. It’s ok. In fact, it’s necessary. And it won’t be that way forever. 
  3. Say yes when people offer to help. I have a hard time letting go of control and letting other people do things for me. With a new baby and 3 other littles needing every bit of attention, love, patience, and wisdom that I have to give (and then some more), I’m learning to say yes. So, WARNING: don’t offer to help me unless you mean it. 
  4. Balls are going to get dropped and it will all be okay. So far this week I’ve missed library day for both boys, I forgot about Alex’s weekly OT appointment, and my camera’s batteries were dead at the Spring Fine Arts Night program. Oh well. This would have driven me crazy in the past. I’m lettin’ it roll nowadays. Life goes on. And as it turns out, people are very understanding and gracious right after you have a baby! 
  5. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel overwhelming sadness for your former “baby” upon bringing home the new baby. It’s okay to eat every meal with a baby on your boob, or a kid on your lap. It’s okay to be needed. It’s okay not to be needed. It’s okay to be overwhelmed. It’s okay to be annoyed. It’s okay because it will all be okay and you’re doing your best. You’re the best mom you can be – in that moment. Your kids love you. Always and forever.   

Peters Potty Training 3.0. Potty Training in Less than 1 Week!!

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I have 3 boys. They say potty training boys is harder than girls. To that I say, “phooey!” Five years ago when I was potty training my first son, one of my best friends in all the land shared a potty training strategy that worked for her kids. I trust her, so I tried it.

Potty Training the Nudey Way.

Sounds scary. And messy. You mean I just let my kid pee on the floor?!? Yup. I’m telling you, it works. I’ve done it with three kids. Three kids who are all very different. The last two had absolutely no interest in going on the potty. None. At. All. But it was time. They were old enough to tell me they had pooped and they didn’t like sitting in it for long.

Here’s what you do:

1. Pick a weekend/time when you know you will be home for 3 days straight. Commit to it. The first day/day and a half will be hard. You can do it. It will get better and it will SOOOO be worth it. You will question whether this is the right time for your child, after day 1. It is. They will get it. Hang in there.

2. Let your child be naked from the waist down. We do this for 3 days, then move on to underwear.

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Andrew, ready to get this started!

3. Show your child where the potty is, have them sit on it. Give potty treats (make this something small – you’ll be giving a lot of them over the next week) for tries, and potty victories. If you only give for victories, they will not want to sit on the potty and try.

4. Wait. Wait for the first accident. Your child will pee on the floor, or the couch, or the chair. It’s going to happen. When it does, pick them up and bring them to the potty and tell them “we go potty in the potty, not on the floor. Do you want to try to go more and get a potty treat?”

5. Clean up the potty accident.

6. Watch for cues that your child may have to go potty. Ask your child to try to sit on the potty every 15 minutes, or so. The first morning of training we spend A LOT of time in the bathroom. Get comfy in there. Play in there, read books, and do a lot of sitting on the potty chair.

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Spending some quality time on the potty.

7. Get super duper, over the top excited when your child pees in the potty!!! Give extra treats or a different/better treat for a victory.

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Having fun!!

8. Be prepared for a few more accidents while they are learning. Be smart about where they sit and what they’re sitting on. Put a towel or waterproof mat under them on the highchair. Do the same while they sit on the couch. Don’t get angry with them for having an accident. Simply clean it up and explain again that pee pee goes in the potty.

9. If you start on Friday and stay home all weekend, your child will be trained by Monday. Then you can move to phase 2: wearing underwear on Monday or Tuesday. This adds in another day or 2 of teaching them to pull down their pants before they sit down, but you’ll be surprised how fast this goes!

10. Naptime, bedtime, and going out in public (shopping, the park, etc) are when they wear pull ups until you’ve got a history of no accidents. This is out of pure laziness as a mother of 3 boys (I don’t want to change wet clothes when we’re at Target, or get pee all over the cart). At home and at daycare we wear underwear and allow the occasional accident to happen. They will happen. It’s ok. If your kids are anything like any of mine, it will happen when they’re deep in play and they just forget. Maybe a handful of times.

That’s it!! I’ve cleaned up 5 accidents since Friday. It’s Wednesday. He’s gone without accidents since Sunday afternoon. Totally worth it to be done in less than a week’s time and out of diapers with pull ups used as a back up only, not a glorified (more expensive) diaper!

Good luck!

 

150 Questions

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This afternoon Alex and I took a ride out to Rockford to visit with my sister and her fam. It’s about a 35-minute ride each way and I took a tally of how many questions I answered in total, round trip. 150. 150 questions.

Questions like…
Are we on the highway?
Where are those cars going?
What?
Where are those people going?
What are those people doing?
What?
What did you say?
What was the name of the place where we saw Snoopy and Charlie Brown?
Can we go there again?
Can we bring Ethan and Ella?
What road does Aunt Kate live on?
What?
What?
Can I leave my toy in the car?
Can Ella come over?
What’s her sister’s name?
What?
Can I have a piece of gum?
Can I have a snack?

…. Just a relaxing ride enjoying the fall colors and a five-year-old’s take on the world.

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